Feb 15, 2014



Perhaps I'm not the best person to lend his opinion on a graphic novel. I can't say it's a format in which I've invested myself too much over the years. Except for the occasional Batman adventures a chum insisted I read (and despite my devouring of EC comics in my youth, which, before you slap me, I know do not count), I just never paid that much attention to this mode of artistic expression.

Still, I was given the chance to take a look at the graphic novel version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and being I am so smitten with those damned kids, I jumped at the chance.

I hope you're not thinking that my confession-like intro is a disclaimer I'm using to segue into complaining for the rest of this review, because I surely have no intentions of doing that. It's just that I likely won't be able to properly praise this new version of the story the way it deserves.

Obviously the biggest change is the prose. Gone are huge, massive chunks of text from author Riggs' original narrative. Well, no shit. That's the nature of the graphic novel. It's the text that drives the story, but it's the images that bring it to life. Yes, I do recall recollecting certain passages from the original text when stumbling upon their drawn-upon counterparts in this new version, sadly seeing its demise in this form, but now it's artist Cassandra Jean doing the heavy lifting and transferring all the novel's emotions into these re-realized characters. It's time for the text, however essential, to take a backseat to this new visualization of the story.

And speaking of, sometimes the most obvious choices are the ones that can still surprise you and bring a smile to your face.

The original offbeat and absurd vintage photographs that peppered Riggs' novel are still here and accounted for; each peculiar child has his or her photograph alongside their first emergence in the text. And though I suppose it was inevitable and likely unavoidable, to see the images of these children then realized again and again throughout the story, painstakingly recreated in ink and color as they appeared in their photos, was surprisingly rewarding. Though Riggs did a fine job of fleshing out his inspired creations in the novel, the consistent visual representation of the kids reinforces your image of them as you reinvest in this new version of the story. (The character of Olive, especially - a tiny urchin with a slight frown in her levitating photo - has been recreated with her same stature and her same outfit, but now bearing that full-blown smile her character must often sport in this make-believe landscape. The nature of her bubbly and idealistic personality nearly defies you to picture the lemon-faced grimace shown in her vintage photo.)

Do I miss some of Riggs' original narrative? Sure, I do. Some of the best suspense comes not from the monstrous wights or hollowgasts, but the burgeoning relationship between Jacob and Emma. But it's the art by Cassandra Jean that's made me see these peculiar children in an all new light.

The book ends with a teaser look at the graphic novel version of Hollow City.

I can't wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment